The Visual and Internal workings of Art Appreciation – or not.

creation 2Being Created (Pure Watercolour)


(The pendulum swings)

The intuitive placement of the next brushstroke calls for a comprehensive awareness of the whole painting as it enters the eye-gate. Regardless of what stage the painting is at.

So it is a placing of the mark while seeing/sensing the whole.

The equivalent in creating a poem I think, is re-reading and re-reading the words of the poem, feeling your way, in light of the next line, you hope to write.

Everyone operates this way. I’m simply pointing it out.

Maybe that would be better in the form of a question – doesn’t everyone work this way?

But when you are aware of working this way, as opposed to it being subconscious – I think it helps to produce more satisfactory work.

This for me is why the ‘raw talent’ aspect of a person’s work (be it in whatever expression of the arts) must be given priority over learnt technique/technical know how. But that might just be ‘my’ school of thought.

To state this again in question form: the ‘debate’ revolves around whether learnt technique, (the technical side of art), is as equally important as inherent intuitive ability?

I don’t think however (as expressed in the question I have just asked) that this discussion will be resolved.🤓

Many who can’t read or write music – as we know – can have the talent of a John Lennon or a Paul McCartney.

Or in painting – someone reputed to be academically inept like [Jackson Pollock or a Henri Rousseau,(?) ] of course have given us something unique and expressive of imaginative prowess.

It is claimed by some commentators regarding certain artists that the pursuit of academic excellence can stifle or rob the artist of his expressive talent, when an acquired pre-occupation with the technical side takes over from their intuition.

But I see this as a pendulum – the pendulum swings in accord with the individual artist’s personality.

If his personality is such, that it demands discipline and perfection, he leans toward the intellect, (skilful reproductive execution). If he has no such need it leans towards emotional expression, (imaginative inventiveness).

Therefore if he is true to his personality, recognises his own tendencies, he is justified in producing the end results, of the kind so produced. It’s usually referred to as an artist’s style.

So the ‘photo realists’ can share a coffee with the ‘expressionists’.

The patient technical perfectionists can ‘rub-off’ on the impatient innovative expressionists and vice versa.

Likewise the non-painting observers and/or musical listeners, will veer towards the appreciation of either personality types and their work, by virtue of their own similar personality preferences and taste. But this is not a dogmatic observation.

On the negative side the foot loose and fancy free ‘expressionist’ can be covering up his lack of skill…

(…but conversely, what if he is skilful, and isn’t covering up any lack of it, but rather trying to – not let it dictate his every move? Picasso maybe?)

Regarding the technically proficient (photo) realist he can be ‘contriving’ imagination, (or contriving to convince he is imaginative, when he isn’t so inclined) exposing that he is a ‘reproducer’ only, and not imaginative or innovative. (Embracing both the skill and the imagination of course might be Dali)(?).

The pendulum will always swing in the artist’s experience of producing art.

Our debate on intuition v technical skill should be good-humoured based on the inconclusiveness of no – one right way.

I find I can appreciate most schools of thought, and appreciate the many variations on this theme, manifest in the work of all kinds of good artists.


However, after having visited a few exhibitions lately I can clearly see that, immediate aesthetic impact, of whatever kind vies with intellectual information communicated by the written word or oral dialogue of/with the artist.

The banal is often placed on the ‘idols altar’ of intellectual elitism and involves the exchange of ideas that (I would affirm) are rarely immediately obvious to the viewer by simply looking at the work, i.e. the accessibility factor.

Conversely sometimes one is pleasantly surprised by where the artist’s thought life will take us. The intellectual journey that they took and that is expressed e.g. in pieces of steel in a structure that sits adjacent to plastic dabbed with paint, may be worth knowing. Or not, as the case may be.

But again, without the communication of explanation through word language, we are left to our own devices and certainly the aesthetic ‘value’ is often neither immediately apparent or appealing, or in fact is completely absent – purposely or not.

It has no appeal other than the de-contextualising of rubbish from its origin (the dump perhaps?) or it’s re-contextualising to produce not the profound but the banal and boring.

The emotional aesthetic is removed. In it’s place is the display of the rubbish of everyday objects, following in the readymade ‘tradition’, or the constructing of purposeless inventions in various materials that are supposed to make us think about, well, – purposeless inventions in various materials, – (or something else perhaps?).

After walking for hours and standing to observe various pieces of art, my resolve to give the pieces the concentration one benevolently would desire to honour the artist with, diminishes with tired legs and feet.

When viewing art then –
If a piece of work has immediate impact through the marrying of the many and varied aesthetic aspects of form, colour, line, etc. etc. – then my tired feet are forgotten and my emotion is refreshed.
With the lack of the aesthetic – instead – giving way to the cerebral –
Unfortunately, if I am to engage with the artist’s psyche and investigate questioningly, the work before my eyes, at that – ‘time to go home’ – time of the day, then I will need to return on another occasion.

One can either be lazy intellectually or as explained, simply tired – and to have to investigate what is written and necessary for cerebral art’s appreciation – is best done after a good nights sleep.

However what I am calling aesthetic art is appreciated intuitively and emotionally. The intellectual aspect may well be present, but that is part two of observation.

We had a mixed menu of viewing on the occasion I am referring to. We viewed the Impressionists, Post-Impressionists, Expressionists etc. Then (in the same venue) we viewed a recent exhibition of younger artists, it was here that my involvement was limited, due to no sense of impact through aesthetic appreciation.

But what the work did bring to mind is the overall condition of the post modern mind. Indeed the thought life of humans on the earth today, is another swinging pendulum from the sublime to the ridiculous. It could be pointed out this is how things have always been.

Well, yes, there is a carnal mind that is at enmity with the creator’s mind.

This brings me to an abrupt end in my sharing through this post. Because I would now need to morph into a post on theology (for want of a better word), in order to continue.

Because of course, the moral state of our world, and its decline, only underlines the earthly sensual and devilish condition that is bound to influence the production of art also, on top of everything else carnal secularism can and does produce.

Suffice to close with this: art will always be questioning, proposing many hypotheses, pendulum swinging on it’s perceived good and bad standards of art.

That is why art is best enjoyed when held loosely, and art finds it’s place of importance in a sober minded appraisal – down the priority list below more important things.

It is not a matter of life and death, only life and death is a matter of life and death.

Pleasant viewing friends.


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